Swinging Portable Tool Storage

Swinging Portable Tool StorageMy shop produces a diverse collection of projects in a limited space: 12′ x 22′. It’s important that every square foot be used efficiently. As a result I’ve focused on mobility of larger machines and some creative ways of storing smaller equipment. The latter is OK if the tool is for occasional use. However, frequently used bench-top tools – grinder, drill press and spindle/belt sanders – each required more innovation.

Swinging Portable Tool StorageLathe work requires a lot of sharpening. A good bench grinder is essential. Rather than using a dedicated stand and therefore dedicated floor space, my grinder is mounted on the workbench. (I have a portable stand for shows and demonstrations outside the shop.) When a project demands the full capacity of the workbench, unclamping the grinder and finding a storage spot took extra time. Here’s one solution.

Materials/Tools needed:

  • 1/8″ drill bit and drill motor
  • Screwdriver
  • 4 butt hinges about 2-1/2″ in width
  • Screws for joining the hinges – you’ll see this in a moment
  • Strong wood screws for attaching hinges to the bench apron and the mounting board.
  • Bolts, nuts, washers for mounting grinder to the mounting board.
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    Swinging Portable Tool Storage

    Figure 1.

    Prepare an appropriate size mounting board using a strong, stable material – I used a piece of laminated bamboo stair-tread. (Figure 1) I’m showing the mounting board bottom-side-up. I include feet so the bolts attaching the grinder clear the bench top. You’ll see this in Figure 4.

    Swinging Portable Tool Storage

    Figure 2.

    Assemble the hinges in pairs as shown – you’ll need the double fold so the entire assembly clears the table top.

    Swinging Portable Tool Storage

    Figure 3.

    Attach hinges to the mounting board and the front edge of the table apron as shown in Figure 3.

    Swinging Portable Tool Storage

    Figure 4.

    When projects call for the full surface of the work bench, simply swing the grinder down to its storage position, as shown in Figure 4.

    I do a few shows and wood turning demonstrations each year. This requires portability. With the grinder in the “up” position, I simply tap the hinge pins out of the top pair of hinges. Now, the grinder – still mounted on its board with jigs in place – becomes a portable tool.

    You can take a similar approach with other bench-top tools in your shop. The weight of the drill press suggested larger hinges, and I took time to reinforce the bench apron with some good, tough hardwood. The spindle/insert storage on the sander required special consideration so the loose parts wouldn’t spill whenever swinging the tool into a stored position.

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